Sierra Leone Minister Says Parliament Needs Persuading

30 June 2011

A Sierra Leone minister has said efforts are under way to convince Parliament to pass a freedom of information law.

Deputy Information Minister Sheka Tarawalli said in a recent interview with Cocorioko News, “We have been lobbying MPs and embarking on sensitization campaigns as to the necessity of the Act, and it is our hope that they would eventually see reason to pass it into law, even if with slight amendments to the original draft.”

Sounding confident about eventual passage, Tarawalli stated, “I am sure it will eventually pass, as we also have international partners helping us in the sensitization campaign.”

He noted that recently some members of Parliament attended a seminar on the Freedom of Information bill in Ghana, “and the feedback from them has been encouraging.” He continued, “They have the responsibility to convince their colleagues to toe the international vogue of legalizing the making available of relevant official information to members of the public, including journalists.”

President Ernest Bai Koroma will sign the bill that emerges, he predicted, commenting, “But as a member of the executive arm of government, what I am more certain about is that President Koroma would give his assent to the bill the moment parliament approves it.”

His comments continue a strong of positive comments from the government.  (See previous report.)

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